Monthly Archives: June 2016

How to Business Success

The recent scandal that rocked Wells Fargo is nothing new. Stories of corporate malfeasance often end with civil settlements paid to the U.S. Department of Justice. But how is potential future business impacted when a company is caught with its hand in the cookie jar? New research from the University of Notre Dame suggests what you might already expect: unethical behavior is immensely damaging to a business’s future prospects.

A research paper published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, “Do It Well and Do It Right: Impact of Service Climate and Ethical Climate on Business Performance and the Boundary Conditions,” examined the intersection between the quality of service a business offers and its adherence to ethical mores by looking into conditions at nearly 200 movie theaters. The findings reveal that quality service and an ethical business plan are essential for long-term business success.

“Both high-quality service and low unethical behaviors are important to predicting business unit performance,” Kaifeng Jiang, the lead author of the study and assistant professor of management at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, told Business News Daily. “This is especially so when the market is very competitive, because then the customers have a lot of options and could … switch to another product or service provider.”

Through their analysis of the theaters, the researchers determined that a higher quality of service more positively impacted operations when ethical adherence was also high. Conversely, when unethical behavior was commonplace, a high quality of service had a much-diminished impact on the success of business operations.

“While carmakers and banks strive to provide superior customer service, their unethical conduct and the resultant fines inevitably jeopardize customer trust and diminish long-run financial returns,” co-author Jasmine Hu, assistant professor of management at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, said in a statement.

The authors cited several key takeaways from their research that could help business owners and managers achieve both high-quality service and a culture of consistently ethical behavior:

  1. Service excellence is a necessary, but insufficient, condition for success.
  2. Build service and ethical climates that operate in tandem to guide service and ethical behaviors [among employees] without supervision.
  3. Take corrective actions before unethical behaviors occur, by periodically measuring employee perceptions of your company’s ethical climate.
  4. Service and ethical behaviors are most essential within turbulent or competitive markets, with competitive intensity being the most important.


What is IBM do

IBM has been known for its forays into artificial intelligence and cloud computing. Now, the technology provider is moving deeper into financial consulting with the acquisition of a prominent — and at times controversial — Washington firm.

The company said on Thursday that it was buying the Promontory Financial Group. The financial terms were not disclosed.

Founded by Eugene A. Ludwig, a former top banking regulator and a law school friend of former President Bill Clinton, Promontory became one of the top financial consulting firms to emerge after the global financial crisis of 2008. Its employees, including many former financial regulators from around the world, advised banks on regulatory matters.

But the firm has drawn scrutiny because of the coziness of its ties to the banks it advises when it is meant to provide objective analyses of banks’ problems. Last year, Promontory settled an investigation by New York State’s financial regulator into its work for the British bank Standard Chartered.

In a statement, IBM said that Promontory and its 600 employees around the world would mesh with its own offerings, including its Watson artificial intelligence platform. In particular, Promontory is expected to help train Watson, with the goal of aiding IBM’s financial clients on managing their regulatory obligations and potentially reducing the costs of doing so.

“What Watson is doing to transform oncology by working with the world’s leading oncologists, we will now do for regulation, risk and compliance,” Bridget van Kralingen, a senior vice president for IBM’s industry platforms team, said in a statement. “This initial offering of Watson Financial Services is emblematic of the transformative cloud-based solutions that IBM Industry Platforms will bring to clients.”

“We believe the future of business and regulation will be driven by the need for advanced technology alongside deep subject-matter expertise,” Mr. Ludwig said in a statement.

About Eco-Minded Entrepreneurs

Ready to start a business but worried about the impact it might have on the environment? If protecting Mother Nature is what you’ve got in mind, you’re in luck: More and more consumers are turning to eco-friendly alternatives to their favorite products and services, and more and more businesses are going green as a result. Need some organic inspiration? Check out these eco-friendly business ideas perfect for nature-conscious entrepreneurs.

1. Consumer rewards programs are popular among retailers, and e-commerce site EcoPlum is no exception. With every purchase, customers earn “EcoChipz,” which are redeemable for either rewards or a donation to environmental causes. Each product sold also carries a third-party green certification or an equivalent eco label. In addition to selling sustainably sourced products, EcoPlum produces educational content, such as monthly columns by industry experts, local green business listings, recycling information, eco-tips, and book and video recommendations.Another retailer selling eco-friendly items is Eco Carmel, a Carmel, California-based home and garden store that serves as a local hub for products, services and advice on green living. Owner Kristi Reimers sells eco-friendly home products ranging from nontoxic paint to cutting boards made from sustainably grown wood. Reimers also uses her knowledge of eco-friendly materials to help local businesses and homeowners find ways to incorporate renewable or recycled resources into their remodeling projects.

2. You might not think of construction as being very sustainable, but some companies are now providing recycled materials for use in projects like infrastructure repair. Axion, for example, with its eco-friendly products, hopes to change the way companies think about rebuilding America’s infrastructure. The company’s railroad ties and pilings are made from recycled plastic from consumer and industrial uses, rather than non-sustainable materials like steel and concrete. Axion is currently working with major partners, like Long Island Rail Road, to improve infrastructure safely and sustainably in the United States.

3. A great way for eco-friendly foodies to share their passion for both food and the environment is to start an organic catering company. Cater local events and business luncheons with foods that are made from organic and locally grown ingredients, and offer free-range meats along with vegan, gluten-free and paleo-meal options and you’ll appeal to nature lovers and health and wellness enthusiasts alike. Be sure to keep environmental impact to a minimum by avoiding using plastic and paper goods as much as possible and composting food waste. And if you already own a catering company, switching to organic, eco-friendly foods could be a great way to boost business.